Reproductive Health Equity Fund dollars are moving to communities and healthcare providers
The Reproductive Health Equity Fund announced today that $5 million has been awarded to strengthen Oregon’s abortion care infrastructure and provide support to underserved communities, including rural, tribal and undocumented communities, communities of color, unhoused populations, and sex workers, among others.
Abortion care remains legal in Oregon—it is one of the only states in the country with zero legal restrictions. Yet major barriers to care exist. For
example, over 75% of Oregon counties, in which 22% of Oregon women live, have no abortion provider.
And despite the fact that Oregon mandates insurers to cover reproductive healthcare services, there are many exceptions; for example, veterans, tribal communities, federal employees and other people who receive healthcare coverage through federal programs do not have healthcare coverage for abortion services.
Eighteen organizations, including abortion care providers and community groups providing patient navigation services, are receiving funding from the Reproductive Health Equity Fund to support “Rapid Response” projects. These
projects focus on urgent and immediate needs related to barriers to reproductive healthcare, including to ease the burden on Oregon healthcare providers, who have experienced significant increase in the demand for abortion care since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in 2022. The awards include a $1 million grant to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF), previously announced in June 2022, which provides direct financial support to abortion patients who can’t afford the full cost of their care.
NWAFF has seen a 256% increase in patient need requests in Oregon since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the rise in abortion restrictions in surrounding states.
Newly announced awards include $2.4 million to reproductive healthcare providers to upgrade facilities, expand capacity, train abortion providers, and
support patients, and $1.7 million to organizations embedded in historically underserved communities to support expanded outreach and patient navigation services.
Remaining funds in the $15 million Reproductive Health Equity Fund will be awarded later this year to projects that address systemic changes needed to create a more equitable reproductive healthcare infrastructure in Oregon over the long term, including prioritizing the unmet needs of communities most impacted by reproductive health care inequities.
Grants were awarded based on a competitive grantmaking process led by a steering committee of community and reproductive health experts and advocates from across the state (Find more info here).
These investments from the Reproductive Health Equity Fund come at a critical moment. House Bill 2002, recently passed by the Oregon legislature, will strengthen legal protections for abortion providers and expand access to gender-affirming care, but it did not result in any new funding for addressing longstanding barriers to reproductive healthcare access despite an increase in patient need throughout the state. Provisions that would have expanded access to care in rural communities and for college students were removed from the final bill due to the legislative walkout by Republican senators, though advocates consider these top priorities for future legislative sessions.
“Disparities in access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, are well documented in Oregon,” says Mariana Garcia Medina, co-chair of the Reproductive Health Equity Fund Steering Committee and Senior Policy Associate of ACLU Oregon. “The end of Roe vs. Wade has exacerbated these iniquities. The Fund helps individuals in communities that need more support to obtain the care they need and deserve. It’s the start we need, but it’s only the start.”
RHEF Rapid Response Awards summary
Cascade AIDS Project
Prism Health Albina Clinic
To increase the availability of high quality, gender- and sexuality- affirming reproductive healthcare, including full-options counseling, and LGBTQ-specific primary care by up to 3,000 additional patients at a new Prism clinic; funds support renovation, equipment, and security features that directly advance Prism’s capacity to provide affirming reproductive care in a safe and responsive environment.
Center for Reproductive Health Equity at OHSU
To meet increased demand for abortion care through an expansion of clinical services and to improve support for patient coordination.
The Lilith Clinic
To serve an increasing number of abortion patients without significant increases in wait time by increasing clinic and staffing capacity and adding security measures.
Multnomah County Community Health Center
Advanced Practice Clinician Fellowship and Clinic Upgrades
To increase primary care provider retention through the Advanced Practice Clinician Fellowship program, which provides newly graduated Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to learn and gain experience in the primary care provider role, including the delivery of reproductive health care services, in communities that are historically underserved and experience barriers to health care. To improve patient experiences of trauma-informed reproductive health services, including gynecological care, by modernizing clinic equipment, including exam tables and pap lights.
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette
Expanded Reproductive Health Care Access
To meet increased demand for abortion care through (1) patient assistance funding for medical, travel, lodging, childcare and other costs that would otherwise create barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care, and (2) updated medical equipment.
Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon
Southwestern Oregon Recruitment and Health Center Enhancements
. To expand patient access to abortion care throughout the Southwestern Oregon region with a focus on the Rogue Valley through the recruitment, incentivization, and hiring of six additional health center providers across the region. To better engage in advocacy and education services in the region and increase staff satisfaction and retention in the area. In addition, to increase abortion services and capacity, address delays in care for patients, and to increase security through the renovation and construction of procedure and recovery rooms at the Medford Health Center, and to to meet immediate and future needs for timely reproductive healthcare services in the Grants Pass area through the acquisition of a new ultrasound machine.
Northwest Abortion Access Fund
Abortion Fund Expansion
To meet the significant increase in patient support needs for people seeking abortion care in Oregon and the Northwest region, including assistance to cover the cost of procedures, transportation and safe lodging, and to recruit new volunteers of color through the introduction of a BIPOC cash grants program.
Haymarket Pole Collective
Gender and pregnancy sex worker support project
To address the unique barriers to family planning and abortion care faced by Black, Indigenous and transgender sex workers, as well as LGBTQIIA+, gender expansive, and sex workers of color by providing stipends for individuals recovering from abortion or seeking gender-affirming care, providing full-spectrum doula training specific to sex workers, and increased security measures.
Doula and Lactation Health Services and Training
To increase equitable access to high quality reproductive health services for marginalized pregnant, birthing, and parenting clients individuals at-risk of falling through service gaps in Lane County by providing direct support to individuals seeking abortion care, full-spectrum doula and lactation consultant training, and wage/benefit support to ensure continued community outreach and workforce continuity for skilled doula and lactation consultants.
Black Joy Oregon & Portland Family Doulas
Community Doula Project
To expand the benefits of having a doula to communities that have been historically excluded and neglected from equitable healthcare access. This program invests in culturally competent doula training and certification and removing barriers to workforce participation for doulas (e.g., childcare, language access support, transportation), including Labor Doula Training, Postpartum & Infant Care Doula Training, Childbirth Education Training, Abortion Doula Training and Birthing Beyond the Binary Training in underserved and marginalized communities, with a goal of establishing a long-term community-based healthcare infrastructure.
Black Thistle Street Aid
Rapid Repro Response Program
To provide safe shelter and trauma-informed wraparound health and social support to unhoused individuals in need of sexual health services, including screening and prevention tools for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, emotional and physical nourishment, and resource support around the experience of an abortion/loss/miscarriage.
Micronesian Islander Community
Improving Access to Care and Services for Micronesians in Oregon
To support training and certification for members of Oregon’s Micronesian and Pacific Islander community to provide language-appropriate and culturally specific reproductive healthcare services; to provide direct patient support to increase access to healthcare services (e.g., transportation and childcare); to enroll community members in Medicaid or other health support programs; and to hire staff to expand reproductive health outreach work.
Mobile Reproductive Health Clinic
FemForward Health delivers mobile reproductive healthcare, including convenient and compassionate gynecologic and early pregnancy care in communities with long waitlists or limited access to the specialized care they deserve. Our full spectrum clinic on wheels expands access to quality care, meeting patients where they are and welcoming them into a safe and supportive setting to get their reproductive healthcare needs met. Funding from the Reproductive Health Equity Fund supports FemForward in building critical capacity to serve more patients, improve accessibility and equity through medical translation services, purchase essential equipment for the mobile clinic, and upgrade our security so our community can safely access the care we all deserve.
Latinos Unidos Siempre
LUS Reproductive Liberation Youth Project
This project expands youth-led work for education justice in Salem-Keizer, which will include advocacy for higher investments by our public school district into gender and culturally affirming school-based healthcare services, education, protections and services for students. Includes direct access to reproductive justice education and comprehensive sexual health education education for youth members in Polk and Marion counties, an expansion of resource navigation services and physical resources for youth, including access to contraception and mental and emotional support, as well as access to shelter, food and clothing.
Tribal Reproductive Health Project
To support rural tribal community access to culturally-aware and trauma-informed education and advocacy on topics including sexual health, healthy relationships, women’s health, and mothers’ health through, through partial funding of two community advocate positions.